The theft of the handicap-accessible swing from Yamaguchi Park, located in south Pagosa Springs, has left the Pagosa Springs Police Department on the lookout for a culprit and the Parks Department deciding how to replace the swing.
The swing, which provides full support for special needs children, was installed during the second phase of a community project to make Yamaguchi Park the only ADA-compliant park in the county.
“It was an amazing effort and it should be celebrated instead of vandalized,” said Parks Supervisor Jim Miller.
According to Miller, the absence of the swing was discovered by Parks and Recreation Director Tom Carosello Tuesday, who then phoned Miller to ask if the swing had been taken down for repairs.
Miller reported the swing’s loss to the PSPD.
“It’s terrible,” Miller said of the theft, later adding, “Consider the karma that comes from stealing from the handicapped.”
Det. Scott Maxwell of the PSPD said the swing, chain and hardware were all taken sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
Miller said he closed the bathrooms at the park at about 8 p.m., Monday evening and the swing was still there. Maxwell said the swing was discovered missing at about 10 a.m.
“Everyone’s keeping their eyes peeled,” Miller said.
Maxwell described the swing — a green JennSwing (the brand of the swing) — as having a replacement value of about $500.
But now the town is faced with a decision on whether or not to replace the swing with one exactly like the one stolen, or with a different kind of swing.
Miller said the town’s loss-control specialist was recently in town for an annual visit and had pointed out potential hazards of the swing, compared to other types of swings — including possible injury if someone were to be hit by the swing.
“We’ll replace it,” Miller said.